Islanders Pull Away With A 7-4 Win Over The Gatineau Olympiques

December 7, 2023 - Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) - Charlottetown Islanders News Release

The Islanders came out on top 7-4 after a high-scoring affair with the Gatineau Olympiques.

Carter Bickle earned his fifth win of the season as he started his second straight game for the first time this year.

The Isles had the jump early as the captain, Michael Horth, ripped his 19th goal of the season from in between the faceoff circles. His linemates Ross Campbell and Giovanni Morneau each assisted on the game opening marker.

The Olympiques responded quickly though. Billy Kollias buried his third of the season to tie the game up just over a minute later.

The back and forth play continued though as Cole Huckins fed a pass to the tape of Kyle Powers in tight of Gatineau goaltender, Kian Hodgins. Powers didn't miss. He buried his first goal in the QMJHL to restore the lead for the Islanders. Simon Hughes also assisted.

The offence continued to rain down on the Olympiques as Campbell scored his first goal since returning to the lineup. His fifth of the year doubled Charlottetown's lead to two goals while Topilnyckyj and Horth added assists.

Then, Olympiques forward, Félix Ouellet took the first penalty of the game to send the Isles to the power play.

That led to the captain to score his second goal and third point of the game. That was Horth's 20th goal of the season, which marks the second straight season hitting that mark. The power play goal was assisted by Campbell and Marcus Kearsey.

The Isles took a 4-1 lead into the first intermission despite being outshot 14-12.

Kollias didn't waste much time to get the second period going as he scored just 12 seconds in to cut the Isles lead to just two goals.

Then, after a miscommunication beside Bickle, Olympiques forward William Labranche got one through Bickle to bring the game back within one for Gatineau.

The Isles came back the other way and gained momentum.

The pressure led to Jan Golicic sending Charlottetown to their second man advantage of the game, but this time it didn't click.

Then, against the flow of play, Jérémie Minville tied the game for Gatineau with just 12 seconds left in the second period.

Gatineau's three goal period would set the score at 4-4 going into the third period.

The trend of fast starts continued as just three minutes into the frame, Lucas Romeo ripped his ninth goal of the season off of a toe-drag shot over the glove of Hodgins to restore the lead for Charlottetown. Matthew Butler assisted and Topilnyckyj added his second assist of the night.

The puck came back the other way but Bickle shut the door.

Carl-Etienne Michel then took his second penalty of the game as he was called for holding, sending Gatineau to the power play.

But the Isles had more chances on net being a man down than the Olympiques did while a man up.

Nolan Ling and Jacob Kaine then both took penalties one after another which led to a 5-on-3 power play.

It was Huckins who capitalised first. He picked a corner off of a one-time feed from Kearsey for his ninth of the season to extend their lead to two goals. Campbell added his fourth point of the night with an assist as well.

Then, Horth tipped in his third goal of the game to complete his first career hat-trick to put the Islanders up 7-4. Morneau added his second and Kearsey added his third assist of the game.

7-4 is how the score would stay to close out the game. The Isles ended up leading in shots 34-32.

Head coach Jim Hulton spoke after the game about his team's performance.

"I think the power play was the difference tonight going 3 for 5. Big goal to put us up 5-4 there but we didn't feel too comfortable with the way we've been playing with leads but we punched through with two goals," he said. "We've played a ton of hockey in the last week with a lot of travel and it was a night we had to find a way to win and we did."

He had high praise for his captain Horth after his first career hat-trick.

"He was skating as good as he has been. He's looked a little tired, understandably in the last little bit but he had great legs tonight," he said.

Horth was happy to be back on a line with Campbell after he missed 10 games.

"It felt good. He's a really good playmaker and we saw it from the first shift, I've really missed him," he said. "We got the job done tonight."

The Isles hit the ice next tomorrow night as they take on the Saint John Sea Dogs in their annual Hockey Fights Cancer night at the Eastlink Centre.

Puck drop is at 7 p.m.

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